Chicago chef Graham Elliot might be leaving his judging post on Fox series MasterChef, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Here, he shows us how to expertly elevate buffalo chicken from pizza joint side dish to a Valentine’s Day-worthy entree. (Edit. note: it mostly involves adding celery slaw and a blue cheese fondant.)
It’s from his gorgeous new cooking tome, Cooking Like a Master Chef, a tight collection of 100 recipes featuring Elliot’s creative riffs on classic dishes, all of which work deliciously. Consider the book your guiding light in the kitchen this season — especially for a certain looming romantic holiday.
“This was a hit when I put it on the opening menu of Graham Elliot Bistro in Chicago (my first restaurant), and it stays on the menu by popular demand. I like chicken thighs because of their full flavor, but chicken breasts are tasty, too. Or keep it traditional and cook up some wings. Whatever part of the chicken you choose, keep the skin on; it’s what gets crispy. At the restaurant, we usually deep-fry the roulades of chicken, but it’s easier to pan-fry them as I describe here. If you’re into deep-frying, have a go at it!” — Graham Elliot
Prep Time: About 40 Minutes
Cooking Time: About 25 Minutes
Serving size: 6
Blue Cheese Fondant
6 ounces Wisconsin blue cheese or your favorite blue cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Tabasco
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs or breast
3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Celery slaw (recipe follows)
1. For the fondant, in a blender, puree the blue cheese, sour cream and mustard until smooth. Add the Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice and blend until mixed. Season with salt. Refrigerate until needed.
2. For the chicken, open the thighs as flat as you can, pressing on the meat with your hands. If using breasts, lay them flat on the work surface. The meat should lie on the countertop, skin side down. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Roll the meat into roulades, or rolls, and tie the ends and center with kitchen twine. This is to promote even cooking.
3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and poach the chicken for 18 to 20 minutes, or until fully cooked. The cooking time will depend on the size of the rolls and how tightly they are rolled.
4. When cooked, transfer the chicken to a large bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes to cool completely.
5. In a skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, and when hot, panfry the roulades for 2 to 3 minutes so that the skin crisps up.
6. In a saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. When hot, cook the onions and garlic, stirring, until caramelized and a rich amber color. Add the hot sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, and ¼ cup of water. Let the sauce come to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until flavors blend into a full-bodied sauce.
7. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. With the blender running, add the butter, a piece at a time, until incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and little lemon juice, if using.
8 Slice each roulade into 3 wheels. Discard the twine. Carefully toss the sliced chicken with buffalo sauce to coat evenly on all sides.
9. Spoon 2 to 4 tablespoons of the slow in the center of six plates. Put 3 slices of chicken on top of the slaw.
10. Garnish each plate with blue cheese fondant and the reserved celery leaves from the following recipe for celery slaw.
CELERY SLAW RECIPE (makes about 2 cups)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon Tobasco
2 celery stalks, cut into thin slices, leaves reserved for garnish
1 small celery root (celeriac), peeled and julienned
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 minced shallot
Juice of 1 lemon
1. In a large bowl, stir the sour cream, vinegar, musrard, mayonnaise, honey, celery seeds and Tabasco. Gently fold in the sliced celery, celery root, parlsey, and shallt. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt.
2. Refrigerate the slaw for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to come together. Take it from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.
Copyright © 2015 by Team Alliot from COOKING LIKE A MASTER CHEF by Graham Elliot published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.